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Episode 1: How Many Miles to the Battlefield?

 

Review by Chris Guanche

June 2, 2000

 

Summary

 

In late UC 0079 the war between the Earth Federation and the Principality is near its end. In the Arctic, the Zeon submarine U-99 approaches the Federation Forces Arctic base. The elite Zeon Cyclops Team launches from the U-99 with Hygogg and Z'Gok-E amphibious mobile suits. They follow an underground tunnel and then launch into the air to begin the surprise attack. The base launches its GM Cold Districts Types to fight back. Gabriel Garcia and Mikhail 'Misha' Kaminsky fight the GMs, which they believe to be decoys. Captain Steiner Hardy searches for the target while Andy Strauss climbs an elevator to the base's launch pad. He sees a cargo container being loaded onto a Ginga space shuttle and tries to destroy it, but a GM attacks him from the shuttle's launching pad. Steiner tells him to wait for backup, but Andy decides to attack because the shuttle is about to take off. The GM kills Andy, and his Hygogg fires a missile in Steiner's direction. The shuttle takes off safely, and Steiner cries out as he holds Andy's body. On the Libot colony of Side 6, 11-year-old Alfred Izuruha messes around in school with his dorky friends Telcott and Chay during lunch. Chay shows Al a Federation Forces rank badge, and a girl named Dorothy says the Federation doesn't even have mobile suits. Al says he saw a black one being shipped to Side 7, but he has no proof. Chay promises to give Al a Federation Forces rank badge if he gets a picture of a mobile suit at the spaceport where his father works. Dorothy says the badge is a fake, and when Chay grabs her, she kicks him in his privates and knocks him over. Al grabs her, and they both trip and fall. Al and Chay are punished and forced to sit at the front of the classroom. Later, Al runs home to get his camera and heads for the spaceport. As he navigates the corridors, he stumbles into a room where the container from the Ginga shuttle is being unloaded. He takes several pictures, and when a worker spots him he says he's looking for a bathroom. As soon as he's chased away, the cargo container opens, revealing a Gundam.

 

Al meets with his father and eats with him. His father asks how his mother is doing, and Al blandly answers 'so-so'. He asks about Al's grades, and Al lies about them and says "so-so." His father asks him to deliver an important letter to his mother. As Al walks home, he bumps into a young woman carrying several boxes. The girl turns out to be his old friend Christina MacKenzie, who had moved to Earth years before. As she tells him about getting back, it begins to rain. Al helps Chris grab all the boxes from her car and take them inside. Chris helps Al dry off inside and tells him that she came back to Libot on a government job. When she goes to get him a shirt, she unpacks a Federation Forces officer's uniform from her suitcase. She gives him the shirt, and they drink tea together. Later, Al returns home and his mother tells him she was worried. As they silently eat dinner, he gives her the letter from his father and leaves. In his room, Al plays a shooting game called Stalking Crisis and begins to shoot the town instead of the monsters. His mother tells him to do his homework and go to bed. The next morning, Al wakes up and takes pictures of Chris with his camera. They walk together on the street, and he tells her how much he hates school and Dorothy. When Al arrives at school, he shows Chay his pictures, but Chay says a container doesn't count. Dorothy shows up and shows Al all the Federation Forces rank badges, which are available at a local toy store. Suddenly, several Rick Dom IIs and Zaku II Kais attack within Libot. Federation Forces GM Command suits appear to fight them off, but the Zeon forces seem to have the upper hand. A damaged Zaku Kai approaches the school and uses its remaining thrust power to head for a forest area. Al runs through town and chases the Zaku. When he arrives at the forest, he finds the Zaku lying on the ground. He starts to take pictures of it and sees the pilot pointing a gun at him.

 

Commentary

 

Well, this certainly is unlike any other Gundam series that's available. If you like pretty boys, you won't find them here (there's actually quite a bit of ugly men and pretty girls). For the first and only time, we have a Gundam series that focuses on a young boy who isn't a Gundam pilot. That adds a bit of realism to the series. We get some older pilots for a change as well, as seen with the Cyclops Team, which likes to drink and look at Playboy. As for Al, he may seem annoying here, but he's supposed to represent a young kid who thinks war is cool. The same goes for his friends Telcott and Chay. In this first episode we're also introduced to fan favorite Christina MacKenzie, who hides from Al the fact that she is a Federation Forces officer. On the technical side, the animation is incredible for it's age, especially the character designs by Macross' Haruhiko Mikimoto.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam 0080 Episode 1 Gundam 0080 Episode 1
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